The countdown is on. The chaos levels are rising. Even though the movers are packing everything (it is the least they can do with the rates they are charging us), there is still loads to sort out. Starting with my closet. Pretty sure I will not need four winter coats ever again. Ditto with shoes. The local charity shops love me lately.
I am also still trying to figure out the best way to keep my steady writing clients happy while I globetrot through Europe en route to the Caribbean. The idea of my home office – especially the 27″ iMac I love almost more than life itself – being out of reach for the next three months is a reality I’m trying hard to ignore. It appears my trusty Macbook Air, that served me so well for so many years, will be called into action once again.
But enough with mundane details like shipping containers and earning bank. There is a far more important thing on my mind.
I honestly cannot remember the last time my skin was this sickly white. The idea of walking off the plane into the warm Caribbean sunshine in this condition is not at all desirable. For several reasons.
First, I appear to be either a vampire or, alternatively, suffering from some undiagnosed illness. I’m not sure if simply existing in the UK climate for 18 months can be considered a sickness. If not, it should be. My skin is a particular shade of white that can only be described as resembling a #10 business envelope. Especially my legs which rarely see sunlight because (a) there is none here and (b) even when the sun does occasionally get confused and pop out, the temps still require long pants and socks.
So to avoid either (a) the Caribbean locals attempting to drive a stake through my heart in an effort to stop the vampire/zombie apocalypse invasion to which my arrival must surely be a harbinger, or (b) the authorities rushing me to the ziekenhuis for immediate quarantine and treatment, I must strive for a healthier appearance.
Second, my existing skin tone is so reflective that, should I dare wear shorts (which I plan to do from the moment I step onto Bonairean soil until the day I die), the sun lighting upon my ungodly alabaster skin will cause a dangerous and retina-burning glare. This, of course, could present untold hazards to passing vehicles, including cars, planes or boats. So from a pure safety perspective, I must remedy this situation.
Which brings me to my confession.
Yesterday I paid to be dosed with UV rays.
This is mildly concerning for several reasons.
First, cost. For an Island Girl who maintained a lovely tan thanks to near-constant – and FREE – exposure to the blissful Caribbean sun, shelling out £7.80 for six minutes of UV bliss was tough to stomach. Not enough to deter me, mind you. After all, I am on a public safety mission. See above.
Second, my ready willingness to trade vanity for health. I totally understand that UV exposure is generally unhealthy. I also know that voluntarily subjecting yourself to high-pressure indoor tanning is even more dangerous. I gave up indoor tanning years ago, but under the circumstances, I have to make an exception.
Third, and this is most alarming, yesterday’s little visit to the tanning salon has me longing for more. It was the perfect anecdote to cure my difficulties with the climate here. I was literally bouncing out the salon doors with happiness. I felt revived and rejuvenated. It was the best I’ve felt since I arrived on this rock. And now I want to go again. Every single day until I leave, if I could. I also realized that I should have been doing this all along. Which would have been bad on so many levels.
And that’s the issue. There is no way you should live someplace where you have to engage in unhealthy lifestyle choices just to get by. I shudder each time we trundle off to the recycling center with our overflowing glass bin. The amount of wine consumed here puts any Caribbean alcohol levels to shame. Add fake baking to that mix? I’m pretty sure I’d be dead – or at least woefully unhealthy – within a few years.
Thankfully, we are almost back where we belong. Just a few more weeks. Which happens to be enough time to get in a few more visits to the tanning salon. You know, purely for safety reasons.
I’m a writer living on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. Originally from the U.S., I followed my heart to the tropics in 2011 at the wizened age of 43. Since then, I’ve been blogging to inspire and entertain. I love kitesurfing, a good gin & tonic, and corgis.
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